Saturday, May 26, 2018
Public safety

Former state Rep. Mitch Needelman arrested on charges of bribery, bid tampering

TALLAHASSEE — After a year-long investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, former state Rep. Mitch Needelman, R-Melbourne, was arrested Thursday on charges of bribery and bid tampering, the FDLE announced.

The charges stem from a document-scanning contract that Needelman signed with BlueWare, Inc., while he served as Brevard County clerk of courts, FDLE said in a news release. Needelman is alleged to have entered the multimillion-dollar contract with the understanding that part of the money would be diverted back to Needelman's 2012 re-election campaign for clerk.

The FDLE said an investigation found that money was funneled back to the campaign through a lobbyist, William Matthew Dupree, who also has been charged. Needelman, who lost the 2012 campaign, was arrested Thursday at his home. An arrest warrant also was issued for BlueWare Chief Executive Officer Rose Harr, according to the FDLE.

BlueWare, an information technology company, moved last year from Michigan to Brevard County after being awarded a potential $1.21 million in incentives from Florida's Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund and Quick Action Closing Fund programs. The company has not received the incentive money, Sean Helton, a spokesman for Enterprise Florida, said Thursday.

In May 2012, Gov. Rick Scott issued a lengthy news release hailing BlueWare's move, saying the company would create 190 jobs over four years.

"BlueWare's choice to move to Florida is a testament to the strength of our business climate and the result of a common vision for economic growth by local, regional, business and government partners," Scott said in news release at the time. "Today's announcement is a great win for the Space Coast, as well as for the entire state."

Needelman, 60, a former Florida Marine Patrol officer, served in the House from 2000 to 2008 and was heavily involved in criminal-justice issues, including serving a stint as chairman of the Juvenile Justice Committee.

Comments

Her husband wouldn’t apologize to her father — so she shot him, police say

RIVERVIEW — A Riverview woman was arrested Saturday after allegedly shooting and killing her husband because he refused to apologize for punching her father, the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office reports. Sabrina Michelle Hendley, 30, of 10518 Anglecrest...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Police investigating shooting outside nightclub

ST. PETERSBURG — Police are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred outside a south St. Petersburg nightclub early Saturday morning.Brennan-Aire D. Williams, 28, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving by cab at Bayfront Health. Police invest...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hernando officials seize 36 neglected dogs from sanctuary

Hernando officials seize 36 neglected dogs from sanctuary

WEEKI WACHEE — A woman who runs an animal sanctuary will face dozens of animal cruelty charges after Hernando County animal enforcement officers said they found dogs, equine, pigs, cats and chickens housed in poor conditions on her property.Animal of...
Published: 05/26/18
Quick action to slow traffic on Bayshore prompts call to do more citywide

Quick action to slow traffic on Bayshore prompts call to do more citywide

TAMPA — As city workers set up signs Friday establishing a lower speed limit on Bayshore Boulevard, neighborhood residents and transportation activists urged more steps to improve safety for pedestrians all across the city.The move is a good beginnin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

The 18-year-old who was arrested this week after police said he was racing when he fatally struck a young mother pushing her stroller across Bayshore Boulevard was back in jail on Friday night.Cameron Herrin, 18, was arrested on a second count of veh...
Published: 05/25/18
Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Last year three members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club gang were implicated in the execution of a rival gang leader in the middle of rush hour traffic in Pasco County.Now those three and two other 69ers members have been indicted on federal charges tha...
Published: 05/25/18

Raccoon bites bicyclist, now the Health Department is looking for the victim

TAMPA — A bicyclist in the Palm River area was bitten by a raccoon Friday morning, the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County said.Now the department is concerned the animal had rabies and is searching for the bicyclist."While it is impo...
Published: 05/25/18

Police: Baby not abandoned; mother surrendered infant

TAMPA — A newborn baby initially thought to be found on the ground near a trash can in north Tampa was not abandoned, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.The child’s mother gave birth to the boy Thursday, and she and someone else too...
Published: 05/25/18
Student says science teacher tackled Indiana school shooter

Student says science teacher tackled Indiana school shooter

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — A male student opened fire at a suburban Indianapolis middle school Friday morning, wounding another student and a teacher before being taken into custody, authorities said. Seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker said the science teache...
Published: 05/25/18

Woman, dog die trying to cross U.S. 19 in Hudson

PORT RICHEY— An unidentified 45-year-old Colorado woman and her dog died early Friday morning when they walked into the path of two vehicles on U.S. 19, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The woman was walking her dog around 5:40 a.m. across U.S...
Published: 05/25/18